This week has been rough to say the least…
Tuesday morning I woke up feeling my “normal” self… (what I would consider normal pain levels, what I would consider normal nausea levels, etc… no alarm bells were sounding.) I took my morning steroids and sleepily snuggled my kitty while they kicked in. I dozed off while he purred on my chest.
A half hour later when my second alarm went off signaling me that it was time for me to get up and get ready for work, i got up, got dressed, and went to the bathroom. After, I came back to my room to brush my hair. When I lifted my arm to brush my hair, unimaginable pain shot threw my chest, arm, and neck… I lowered my arm hoping the pain would dissipate but it didn’t. I rolled my shoulder in a circle and flexed and stretched my arm hoping maybe i had some how subluxed my shoulder or something when I went to brush my hair, but again, no luck relieving the pain… It hurt to breath, it hurt to bear any weight on that side, it hurt to move.
Around lunch time the pain had moved up into my jaw.
Around 3:30 the pain moved over my shoulder and down my back and was progressing down my arm and up the back of my neck into my head.
I already had a physical therapy appointment scheduled for 4:30 that afternoon so I suffered through work taking the day one hour at a time… sometimes even just one minute at a time. I kept telling myself that I just needed to make it to my PT appointment and she would be able to work her magic and find whatever was wrong and fix it… finally providing relief.
…unfortunately that wasn’t quite the case. After spending an hour massaging various muscles and trying to see if something was out of place, we didn’t have any luck. This left her worried that I was having a heart attack.
I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t think she was serious because I had been dealing with this pain for 9 hours at this point. My brain was logically telling me that if I was having a heart attack, I would have died by that point. But turns out that she was very serious.
When my dad arrived to pick me up, I let him know about her concerns and ultimately we decided we would rather be safe than sorry, so we headed to the ER instead of heading home to the comfort to my own bed… Where I wanted to desperately to be.
When we got to the ER, they confirmed that the symptoms that I was experiencing were the same symptoms that a woman having a heart attack would experience. They were also able to quickly rule out a heart attack by performing an EKG in the triage room before taking me back. They then continued to run tests to rule out any other cardiac events. And because EDS puts me at risk for an aneurism, they also ran tests to rule out an aneurism.
After blood work, an x-ray, a cat scan of my head, and a CT with contrast of my chest, we ruled out all cardiac events and aneurisms.
But 7 hours in the ER was not all for nothing!
The CT with contrast of my chest showed that my 1st right rib is not shaped properly. The doctor said that it is likely that the “deformity” is likely something that I was born with.
And it likely didn’t cause any issues until now because EDS has effects more of my my body the older I get… I have just been very fortunate to never sublux or dislocate that rib before.
After we figured out what was causing the issue (almost 7 hours after we arrived), they discharged me to go home… Requesting that I schedule a follow up with my primary care physician to discuss treatment options.
It’s been two days since I was discharged and there has been little to no reprieve from the pain. I am still having difficulty taking deep, full breath, bearing weight on that side, etc. Hopefully taking it easy and some good rest over the weekend will help.
Sometimes being chronically ill feels a lot like a game of “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! … No wait! It’s a…”